Sometimes less is better

Dear Editor,

It’s getting close to the time when we must decide to vote for maintaining the current efficient form of city management and against adding a layer of unnecessary bureaucracy. When you read the newly proposed city charter, you will find the call to add a mayor to our city government. This concept was initiated by a faction of Lewistown citizenry who felt their voices were going unheard. This suggests the possibility that a mayor can be persuaded to take a position on behalf of a vocal minority and sway the commissioners in their decisions. This has all the makings of confrontational gridlock.

If there’s a concern about being heard, a more direct way is to get involved. Attend the City Commission meetings and speak out, talk with the individuals, and when a vacancy is open in your ward, volunteer to become a commissioner.  These are ways of getting your concerns across without throwing in a monkey wrench and putting the brakes on the many efforts being made to revitalize our community.

Why add the cost of paying for a mayor plus a CAO, City Administrative Officer? To run our city we will want to hire a CAO who is educated and experienced; a person with vision and administrative skills. This requires providing a salary that will encourage talent. The past City Manager and the current interim manager receive around $80,000 -- fair compensation for all the areas and departments they have to oversee.

The study group suggests paying the CAO $60,000 and ties the position to the four-year mayoral cycle. The mayor will hire the CAO for a two-year contract and define his or her duties. Who in their right mind with the experience we need to run our city, would want to take the chance of moving his or her family to take the job? To top it off, and here’s the kicker, we also will need to come up with a salary for the mayor. I don’t know about you, but sometimes less is better, and I don’t see why I as a tax payer have to pay more for a new system when the current one works.

Forget the mayor idea. It only adds costs, an inefficient needless bureaucratic layer, and has all the potential of hamstringing the city commissioners. Vote for our current Commission/Manager form of government.

Clint Loomis




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